Alternate Contribution Stabilization Program


Legislation enacted as part of the State budget (Chapter 57, Part BB, Laws of 2013) established an alternative to the original Contribution Stabilization Program (CSP) enacted in 2010. Like the original program, the Alternate Contribution Stabilization Program provides short-term cash relief for employers by allowing them to amortize a portion of their annual contribution, but then requires repayment with interest, beginning the year after amortizing under the program, for up to twelve years.

Both Contribution Stabilization Programs are optional programs that establish a graded contribution rate system. Once an employer elects to participate in the Alternate Program, their contributions are based on the graded rate system regardless of whether they choose to amortize in any year. The program limits the increases or decreases in contribution rates from year to year. This means employers may be able to amortize a portion of their invoice as rates increase or they may have to make an additional graded payment as rates decrease.

Employers who wished to participate in the Alternate Program were required to make a one-time election to enroll during the 2013–2014 billing cycle. Forty-one employers elected to participate in the Alternate Program for any future amortizations that they intended to make.

A new law enacted in April 2023 allows employers who have participated in the Alternate Program to withdraw from the program provided that the employer meets certain conditions:

  • Pay, in full, all outstanding amortizations plus interest; and
  • Submit a Termination Request form.

(Return to Top)


Program Participation and Withdrawal

This program is closed to new entrants. Eligibility was limited to counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), as well as the four hospitals operated by public benefit corporations in Erie, Nassau and Westchester counties. The State could not participate in the Alternate Program.

To withdraw from the program, an authorized person from your organization — either the CEO or CFO, or a person designated by them — will need to complete the Termination Request form.

Forms can be submitted by:

NYSLRS Employer Billing Unit
110 State St
Albany, NY 12244-0001

Your withdrawal from the program is subject to review and approval by NYSLRS.

Withdrawal will take effect in the fiscal year billing cycle following the fiscal year of approval. For example, if you withdraw in fiscal year 2024 (April 1, 2023 – March 31, 2024), you will begin paying the normal rate (not the graded rate) in fiscal year 2025 (for your bill that will be due in February 2025). Beginning with that invoice and going forward, you would not be required to make a graded payment, and you would not be able to amortize your annual pension contribution.

If you have a reserve fund balance after withdrawing from the Alternate Program, your balance will be automatically applied toward a portion of your future invoice payments until your reserve funds are depleted. Reserve funds will be applied toward your invoice up to the maximum amount you would have been able to amortize in a given fiscal year if you were still participating in the program. NYSLRS will notify you when you are able to use your reserve funds during the annual billing cycle.

If you withdraw from the Alternate Program, you may not rejoin. However, you can join the original Contribution Stabilization Program, if:

  • You would be eligible to amortize; and
  • Your reserve fund has been depleted.

(Return to Top)


How the Program Works

  1. NYSLRS determines an employer’s annual contribution according to its usual procedures. The Alternate Program does not change these procedures or the method for determining annual contribution rates. For purposes of the Alternate Program, the normal annual contribution is the employer’s total invoice, excluding payments for group term life insurance, deficiencies, previous amortizations, incentive costs and prior years’ adjustments.
  2. NYSLRS establishes graded rates using the methods established by the law enacting the Alternate Program.
  3. NYSLRS determines what an employer’s contribution would be using the graded rate.
  4. NYSLRS compares the employer’s normal annual contribution to the graded contribution to determine if the employer is eligible to amortize or required to make a graded payment. If the normal contribution exceeds the graded contribution, the employer is eligible to amortize. If the normal contribution is less than the graded contribution, the employer is required to make a graded payment.
  5. If an employer is eligible to amortize, the maximum amount an employer can amortize is the difference between the employer’s normal annual contribution and the employer’s graded contribution.
  6. If an employer is required to make a graded payment, the amount to be paid will be the difference between the employer’s graded contribution and the employer’s normal annual contribution.
  7. Employers participating in the Alternate Program carry the amortized amounts as a liability on their financial statements. Employers also carry any reserve fund balances as assets on their financial statements.


Employers will see the maximum amount to amortize in their estimated invoice (available in Retirement Online every summer) and the annual invoice (issued in Retirement Online in November). The projected invoice, which is available 17 months in advance of the invoice due date, will show an estimated maximum amortization amount for the next fiscal year’s contribution. You are not required to amortize every year and you can choose to amortize less than the maximum amount allowed.

Employers will pay interest on their amortized amounts, which is comparable to a 12-year US Treasury Bond plus 1 percent. The interest rate is set annually by the Comptroller. For the invoice provided in November 2023 (for payment due by February 1, 2024), the interest rate for amounts you amortize will be 5.10 percent.

The interest rate applied to an amount amortized in a given year will be the interest rate for that year and for the duration of that 12-year payment period. Amounts amortized in other years will be at the interest rate set for the year of the amortization. You can prepay prior amortized amounts to reduce your outstanding deferral and accrued interest. There is no prepayment penalty.

Graded Payments and Reserve Accounts

If an employer is required to make a graded payment, the amount must be paid in full. Payment for your annual invoice (which is provided to you in November) must be received by February 1. You can pay a discounted prepayment amount of your annual invoice contribution if you pay by December 15. However, if you owe a graded payment, it cannot be discounted for paying early.

Graded payments will first be used to pay off existing amortizations.

If all amortizations have been paid, NYSLRS will set up a reserve account for the employer and any excess will be deposited into that account.

Reserve account funds will earn interest based on fixed rate securities of appropriate duration held by the New York State Common Retirement Fund (Fund). That rate of return will vary annually.

The funds in the reserve account can be used toward a portion of an invoice once two conditions are met:

  1. The System average rate must exceed a specific percentage in the previous fiscal year.
    • For the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS), the rate must exceed 9.5 percent.
    • For the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS), the rate must exceed 17.5 percent.
  2. The employer’s average rate must exceed the employer’s graded rate (so, if an employer is eligible to amortize, then they are eligible to use their reserve funds).

If, at the end of a fiscal year, the balance in the reserve account exceeds the employer’s normal annual pension contribution (not including Group Term Life Insurance [GTLI]) from their last invoice, they will not be required to pay a graded payment during the next fiscal year.

To view reserve account fund balances:

  • Sign in to your Retirement Online account.
  • From your Account Homepage, click the “Access Billing Dashboard” button.
  • Choose your location code and retirement system (ERS or PFRS).
  • Click the “Reserve Fund Balance” link on the Billing Dashboard.

Reserve account balances in Retirement Online will be updated after February 1 each year to include any payments made from December 15 through February 1. Interest will be calculated and credited at the end of each fiscal year. 

(Return to Top)


Amortization Schedules and Payoffs

If you elected to participate in the Alternate Program during the one-time election period, you can view the payment schedules of any outstanding amortizations, the original amount you amortized and the interest rates for each, in Retirement Online.

To view amortization payment schedules:

  • Sign in to your Retirement Online account.
  • From your Account Homepage, click the “Access Billing Dashboard” button.
  • Choose your location code and retirement system (ERS or PFRS).
  • Click the “Amortization Schedule Review” link on the Billing Dashboard.

You will be able to search for a specific amortization or view a list of all amortizations. If you click on an amortization in the search results list, you will see details associated with that amortization, including the effective date, maturity date, interest rate, payment amount and payment schedule.

You can save on interest costs by paying off amortizations ahead of schedule.

To calculate a payoff amount for any amortization based on a payoff date of your choice:

  • From the Billing Dashboard, click the “Amortization Payoff Calculator” link.
  • Click the “Search” button.
  • In the list of search results, click the amortization you want to pay off.
  • Enter your preferred payoff date in the Payment Date field and click the “Calculate Payoff” button.

If you plan to pay off an amortization, please notify us in advance so we can identify your payment and post it to the proper amortization. You can use our help desk form and select “Employer Billing” from the dropdown.

(Return to Top)


Graded Rates

The increase or decrease in the Retirement System graded rates depends on the gap between the System average rate and the previous graded rate:

  • If the gap is 0.5 percent or more, then the graded rate will increase/decrease by 0.5 percent in the direction of the System average rate.
  • If the gap is less than 0.5 percent, then the graded rate will be set to the System average rate.

Note: Graded rates are calculated based on a System average rate that does not include employer Group Term Life Insurance (GTLI) owed that fiscal year.

Fiscal Year EndSystem Average Rate,
Excluding GTLI
Alternate Program
Graded Rate
System Average Rate,
with GTLI
Employees’ Retirement System
Police and Fire Retirement System

Under this program, no money is taken from the New York State Common Retirement Fund. In addition, the calculation of future employer contribution rates and the System’s funded ratio are not affected.

While the Alternate Program provides more upfront cash savings than the original CSP, as actuarial contribution rates decrease, graded rates decrease by only 0.5 percent. More of the savings from the drop in rates will be used to pay off earlier deferrals.

If you have questions about either the Alternate Program or the original CSP, please use our help desk form (select “Employer Billing” from the dropdown) or call 866-805-0990 and press 1 to access the employer menu, then follow the prompts.


Rev. 12/23

(Return to Top)